to be a woman

to be a mother

to be a professional

to be educated and ambitious

to be in a relationship

to have children

to be an expatriate

to be who you are

where you are

 you find yourself making choices

your life is a pile of puzzle pieces

you think and look and you shuffle the pieces

you try and go to work and it doesn‘t work

there is no work for you in this city

you have children

you have no childcare

you stay at home 

you are miserable

you stay at home 

you are happy

you go to work and it works

there is no work for your partner in this city

you are an expatriate

you are a mother 

you shuffle the pieces


Federica light

Federica, Italy


British/Congolese partner

 Mother of an 8 year old daughter and a 5 year old son

I work at the United Nations, the Office of the High Commissioner of the Human Rights. This is my tenth year in Geneva. I am from Italy, but after university I went to the UK to do a MA in International Law, then I went to India before coming here. My husband followed me to Geneva and has been on and off jobs since then. When he’s off a job, he does all the family work, but when he is working, he’s often away, like right now, he is in Afghanistan, then I need a baby sitter, unless I have family from Italy. When my family is here, it’s ok. It’s when I am alone with the baby sitter that it gets hard as all the pressure lays on me for everything, including discipline.

I think maybe I miss out a little, I may not be there during the day, eight hours a day, but then I think it’s better to have children who see their mother less, but when they do, they see her as a happy, satisfied person. 

He has always been very supportive of my career and since I’ve been working for the UN, he has always put his career second. He doesn’t complain about this, but if there was one thing I could change, I’d make sure my husband could be satisfied professionally and be with us. 

About Marina Cavazza & Egle Kackute

Photos by Marina Cavazza, texts by Egle Kackute.

Marina Cavazza and Egle Kackute, expatriates from Italy and Lithuania respectively, have been photographing and interviewing other expatriate mums (and s…Read more


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